The Great Accomplishment Lineage

A s he journeyed from master to ■'"■master, learning and studying their martial techniques, Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai increasingly focused his attention on the inner essence of their art. This was more important than the superficial differences between styles. For him the great accomplishment of the martial arts did not lie in the repetition of classical "forms" consisting of set movements. Real power lay in the cultivation of the internal energy that could be directed by the mind.

By the time he began teaching publicly in Shanghai in the 1920s, he had distilled his learning into a system that placed mental power first. He called his system Yi Chuan, literally "Mind Fist," often translated as "Intention Boxing."

When he began teaching in Beijing in the 1940s, his system was acclaimed as The Great Accomplishment - Da Cheng Chuan. Eminent martial artists from China and Japan tried their techniques on him, but found themselves effortlessly bounced off by his power. Respectfully, they asked to become his students. Even earlier in Shanghai, a European world boxing champion had tried to knock out the diminutive master with a single punch and was floored. He was so startled, he reported it to The Times newspaper in London.

( Grand Master Wang broke new ground by challenging the traditional secrecy of ' martial arts instruction. He taught openly.

"Knowledge should not be hidden away like a secret," he declared, "it belongs to all humanity."

In 1993, on the 30th anniversary of his death, Grand Master Wang's long-term disciples in China (many of them in their 80s and 90s) and a delegation of recent Zhan Zhuang students from countries around the world gathered for a commemorative ceremony in Beijing. The events took place at his tomb (page 154) and included a seminar at the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Occupational Health.

Many of Grand Master Wang's disciples are pictured on the facing page, grouped around his daughter Madame Wang Yuk Fong. In a talk to Western students, Madame Wang told them to be attentive while holding the Zhan Zhuang posture, but to smile at the same time. "This is the 'inner laughter,- she said. "That inner happiness will continue through your whole life. The more you stand, the more comfortable you feel. Everything looks very soft, relaxed and at ease. Yet there is immense power inside you."

"If you study and practice Zhan Zhuang you can easily live to over a hundred!" said Master Li Jian Yu, Chief of the International Education Department of the Beijing Wushu Association. "Just stand quietly, listening to the sounds of the birds and noticing the internal movements of energy in your body. This is the pathway to a long life!"

Zhan Zhuang Postures

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